Upset in regional final shuts door on long playoff run for boys soccer


Photo courtesy of Maya Valentine

Alexis Rogers, Owen Chiss, Assistant Sports Editors

While the Wildkits finished the regular season with a 12-5-2 record– capturing the second seed in the Glenbrook South Sectional– they were unable to advance past the regional finals following a 2-0 loss to Lane Tech. 

A 4-0 shutout against Maine West in the regional semifinals looked like a promising start for the Kits, who entered the IHSA Regional Final against Lane Tech as favorite. However, two Lane goals in the first half ultimately proved to be too much for the Blue and Orange.

The first goal of the night came on a score by Lane Tech’s Winston Henry 15 minutes into the game, but Evanston bounced back by controlling the run of play for most of the first half. Yet, the Kits (13-6-2) couldn’t finish any possession. Things took a turn for the worse for Evanston when Lane (14-4-1) scored another goal mere minutes before halftime.

With Lane just needing to play strong defense in the second half, ETHS couldn’t make a comeback.

Despite not managing the win, the Kits fought hard, firing shots at Lane keeper Gael Rodriguez throughout the night. A particularly direct attempt by junior Bryan Maldonado in the fourth quarter knocked Rodriguez down and off the field.

Constant energy and fast feet from Maldonado, as well as solid presence from junior defender Benji Koziura, helped keep Lane Tech working. Malonando achieved multiple shots on goal, and Koziura locked down the Kits defense in the second half to prevent a third score.

Play became increasingly aggressive as time waned, with rough contact sending multiple athletes from both teams to the bench. ETHS senior forward Pascal Calonges, following a possession near Lane Tech’s goal, was one of the casualties, as was Malonando just three minutes from the end of the second half.

The contest ended the Kits’ push to repeat their reign as conference champions. Meanwhile, Lane Tech played Oak Park on Oct. 25 at the state sectional match hosted by Glenbrook South.

Despite an unexpected early exit, the Kits proved to the state once again that they were a force to be reckoned with by finishing with a winning record and taking the CSL South Conference Crown.

The Kits will graduate 14 seniors at the end of this year, but junior keeper Cade Likhite believes that next fall, Evanston will be right back where they left off this season.

“We’re going to have a very strong squad next year. The rising juniors have a lot of potential and our current juniors are constantly improving,” says Likhite. “Next year will be very fun. We definitely have what it takes to be a contender for state.”